Monday, June 14, 2010

The Colors - Rave It Up EP

A1. Jealousy

A2. Growing Up American

B1. Have You Seen Her?

B2. West End

B3. Rave It Up

Rave It Up EP
Infinite (001), 1980

The Colors were formed in 1979 by Paul Sass on guitar and Tommy Cookman on lead vocals. Robert Vickers joined the group on bass almost immediately after arriving in NY from Australia. After some sloppy rehearsals with their original drummer, Ed East took over on skin duties.

Paul and Robert were the band's songwriters and derived a formula of melody-driven two minute pop songs. Taking notes from the Ramones, the band played short and fast sets. The main difference being their emphasis on appearance and wearing colorful attire. Robert and Tommy would find cloth samples in dumpsters in Soho and make ties from them to match their outfits.

The band quickly earned their stripes, impressing CBGB owner Hilly Kristal so much that he signed on as their manager and booked them regularly. One of the owners of Infinite Records on Mercer Street, where Tommy worked, liked them so much that he decided to start a record label and put out the band's "Rave It Up" EP. Clem Burke of Blondie saw the band's potential as well and agreed to produce the record. In fact, in preparation for recording, Ed left the band and Clem filled in on drums. Clem also brought in a friend of his, Charly Pip, to play second guitar. On top of doing excellent back-ups, Charly assisted in making the band tighter and fuller than ever.

It is believed that 3,000 copies of the single were pressed on five different colors of vinyl. A portion were sold in Manhattan record stores while the rest went to a Long Island distributor. Three videos were made off the EP, but only "Jealousy" and "Growing Up American" were ever edited and sent to broadcast. The band received some college airplay, mentions in teen magazines, and appeared on the Uncle Floyd show. They mainly played New York and Jersey, but did venture to Philly, Boston, Baltimore, DC, and even once flew out to play Chicago. With Clem's other obligations, he usually wasn't able to play road shows, so they enlisted the help of The Elf who did his best to fill those awfully large shoes.

The band recorded a full length album, but began to dissolve by the time of it's completion. As the energy was slipping, Paul left the band and Robert was losing interest. Infinite was supposed to release the album but disappeared. The owner of the Dirt Club agreed to put it out, but by the time it surfaced in 1983 it was too late. Robert was in London playing with fellow Aussie mates the Go-Betweens and Tommy ended up moving to Buenos Aires.

Rave-Up Records out of Italy has issued an LP called "Teenage Furniture" which collects the bands full length and EP tracks.

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